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Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Playboy in the Bathroom

After my older brothers came home from the Army, there was often a Playboy in our bathroom. It was there in a stack with the NY Times Sunday magazine, National Geographic and others. Women were far out-numbered in our family. It wasn't weird to me, I didn't think about it, nobody mentioned its presence; it was just there.

Then in the Spring of 4th grade my pal Allen brought a Playboy to school and got caught. He'd been showing us the pages-long Little Annie Fanny cartoon when Miss Clarke snagged it with disgust. But the die was cast. I'd found cartoons I loved almost as much as Disney. Playboy's cartoonists were damned good. Rich in illustration and fabulous color. It was the late 60s. There was no arbiter of taste nor even a Women's Lib movement yet. It was all stereotypical sexist BS but that was above the radar of a 10 year-old girl. It was the beauty of the drawing that I loved. When a new Playboy appeared in the bathroom stack, I went for the comics.

From Playboy's Erich Sokol, Harvey Kurtzman and Will Elder I graduated to R. Crumb and became a lifelong fan of outrageous cartooning. It's a talent I admire because I'm completely incapable of doing it. Here is a blog post from Animation Archives featuring Little Annie Fanny- not for kids!!!- in all its glory:

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